Person killed in Lowestoft flat fire despite neighbours brave rescue attempts

PUBLISHED: 15:57 03 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:57 03 December 2016

Scene of fire on Stanford Street, Lowestoft.

Scene of fire on Stanford Street, Lowestoft. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A man has died in a flat fire, despite the desperate efforts of brave neighbours to carry out a rescue.

Community reaction

Miss Wilson, a resident of Roman Road, said: “My oldest son was in our upstairs bedroom and heard an explosion as one of the windows at the flat smashed, at about midday.”

“I was round the corner at a shop and ran back as soon as someone said there was a fire near my house- it was scary.”

Rev Damon Rogers of St Andrew’s Church, Roman Road, said: “At this stage we do not know exactly what has happened. We of course offer our prays and thoughts to those affected.

“We have been working with people in the flats and they are now in places of safety or with relatives.

“The good thing that has come out of this has been the people of Roman Hill who were there to help those affected.”

Stephanie McCarthy, of Roman Road, added: “We were told it was like an explosion and we could see smoke coming out from the windows and shortly afterwards fire-fighters arrived and they have done brilliantly.

“Its especially upsetting for this to happen to someone just before Christmas.”

Investigations will continue today following the fire in Roman Road, Lowestoft, yesterday lunchtime.

The emergency services were called to the scene, close to the junction with Stanford Street, just before 12.10pm.

An eye-witness described how neighbours tried desperately to save the life of a man trapped inside the first-floor flat as the fire ripped through the premises.

Vivienne Baroni, of Stanford Street, said: “There was smoke billowing out of the windows of the first floor flat and the two men from the ground floor flat were trying to enter the flat ablaze by using a fire extinguisher.

“The fire extinguisher tumbled down the stairs as the guys attempting the rescue ran back out because of the smoke.”

She added: “I told them they couldn’t go back in as they would end up as casualties as well.

“I stood outside but could do nothing. I have never seen a fire like that before. I even thought of grabbing the discarded settee cushions from my neighbour’s front garden to get the people to jump out of the window, but it was too late.

“Then the windows blew out and red and yellow flames engulfed the flat.”

Police officers as well as an ambulance officer, a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) attended the incident which was brought under control by fire crews at 1.34pm

A police spokesman said: “The cause of the fire is currently unknown and a joint fire and police investigation is due to continue.”

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